What do you think of when you hear the word “education”? Do you smile at the memories of being the best at school? Do you shiver at the thought of having to show your grades to mum? What you remember from going to school, doing your homework, being scolded at for not understanding how to divide 558 by 24, the systematic examinations that test your ability to memorise rather than to understand, that is what we call the “Formal Education System”.

Growing up different education systems, what I can clearly remember is that in the Japanese school; we respected the teachers and did not share opinions; we learnt the 5 core subjects, sciences maths and languages; and we conformed to the oppressed society that Japan is. Now let’s reflect it to the international school I was in; we shared ideas and opinions and had healthy discussions with teachers; we had the opportunity to study subjects that we wanted to study from the age of 15.

On the list of average IQs by country in 2020 Japan lies at the 4th with an average IQ of 105. This isn’t at all surprising when students in Japan go to school, then go to extra school after school. But is this an ideal education system? Is getting the best grades in school what we tell students to aim for in life? No. There is so much more to that.

The ideal education should be composed of the following;

A system that allows a range of subjects to be taught equally to all

– Subjects should not be forced onto students, rather let the students have a touch to all and be given an option in future years. It may sound obvious to some; however, this is not the case to many. Many schools don’t give options at all, rather have students focus on what the school wants them to focus on and let them decide what to study directly at university without any time to realise where their interest lies.

Educators that encourage students to understand rather than to memorise

– Memorisation has sadly become such an enormous part of education in recent years. Cramming information the night before exams (yes, I do it too) is as we all know, not useful at all moreover a waste of time. However, the current education system forces us to do so.

A system that examines students’ skills in a less systematic and standardised way

– As the saying goes, “You don’t examine a fish on its ability to climb trees”. We must make the education system an environment where people are encouraged to improve on where their talents lie rather than be judged and feel bad for not excelling in every field.

An education that not only focuses on formal education but informal and non-formal education too, to encourage understanding of soft skills and creative thinking

– Growing is not all about being able to solve equations and knowing how to pass exams. It is so much more than that, and the current system fails to educate us about such things. What is the point in passing exams if you fail to communicate, lead people or work in teams?

We do not live in an ideal world, and an ideal education system may seem like a far goal to reach. However, many countries are realising where to improve on, and the rest of the world should follow their lead. Many countries are developing in so many aspects in terms of technology, modernisation and more, and it is now time to reflect on the core of what builds our future.

Article by Eri Connors